Available Technology

Behind Casing Fluid Sampler to Monitor Groundwater at Hydraulic Fracturing Operations IB-2013-087

Barry Freifeld of Berkeley Lab has developed a behind-casing fluid sampler that monitors hydraulic fracturing operations by cost effectively sampling fluids beneath the lowermost underground sources of drinking water (USDW). The Berkeley Lab technology will allow identification of problematic cement seals without interrupting wellbore production to effectively protect groundwater and assure regulators and the public that the industry is operating safely. Unlike through-casing fluid samplers, the innovative Berkeley Lab system is a permanently deployed device, external to the casing string, that simultaneously monitors wellbore casing performance and permits periodic fluid sampling. This is possible due to the Berkeley Lab sampler’s unique design, which merges the robust U-tube sampler with a behind-casing perforating system. The Berkeley Lab behind-casing fluid sampler can monitor drinking water aquifers during hydraulic fracturing operations without the high cost and inefficiency associated with through-casing sampling, where each wellbore sample requires a new perforation and seal, and wellbore production must be halted for sampling to take place. The Berkeley Lab behind-casing fluid sampler improves on previous technologies by providing acquisition of periodic samples, without the cost of repeated perforations and seals, and cement sheath/casing performance data. The result offers an early warning of well integrity issues to allow for adoption of mitigation measures before groundwater is significantly impacted.
Benefits: 
: - Enables cost effective monitoring - Stand alone design - Samples material behind casing without halting wellbore production - Identifies problematic cement seals in wellbore casing
applications: 
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
IB-2013-087
Patent Status: 
Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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